Monday, February 28, 2005

Excuse me, God, may I ask a few questions?

So, I have an enormous dream: someday, when I die, I want to ask God questions. They're things I wonder about when I'm sitting around with nothing to do, things that I struggle with, things that I'm just plain confused about. Some are slightly irreverent, some are silly, a lot are things that I have beliefs about, and many are really important things to me. There's no particular order, they're merely numbered so I can tell just how much of a curious character I am. Maybe you can contemplate them with me.

1) Is the right thing at the wrong time in fact the wrong thing?
2) Why do some people suffer?
3) Are "demons" external beings or internal issues?
4) Is homosexuality a choice or inherent? Is it wrong?
5) Would you just explain creation to me, from the beginning, so I can finally understand what REALLY happened with that whole creation/evolution thing?
6) Why do people get scared of things and people that are different?
7) How are we ever supposed to know if love is the "real thing"?
8) Really, how funny do we look doing the dumb stuff we do down here?
9) What's up with that whole gender/sex/sexuality thing?
10) If the Israelites were Your chosen people, why'd you make everyone else?
11) What color is the night sky?
12) Were the dinosaurs fun to watch?
13) What are your opinions on gender roles? Did Paul get it right forever, or just for his time period?
14) Do You ever get angry about how people portray You or what they say in Your name?
15) How can you stand to watch the suffering?
16) Was there really an epic battle between Angels and the forces of Satan like in Paradise Lost?
17) Why are we all different races when there's no real differences between us?
18) How do You decide who'll get which talents/appearances?
19) War. Please explain.
20) What's the most heartbreaking thing for You?
21) What makes You laugh?
22) Could you explain in simple terms how this whole Trinity thing works?
23) How do all these different religions fit together?
24) Do we all have mates out there somewhere that we're supposed to be matched up with, or are some of us meant to be single?
25) How do families end up together the way they do?
26) What are the facts in the free will vs. predestination mess?
27) Is evil a single exterior force, a lot of exterior forces, or an internal thing?
28) How do you feel about divisions, denominations, and schisms in Christianity?
29) How did you stand it when Christ was crucified? How did all that come about?
30) So, this whole end of the world thing. What can we expect?
31) Which of Your creations best reflects You?
32) What were Adam and Eve like?
33) Is the Bible inerrant and exactly what You said, or did the recorders and scribes make a few changes?
34) If You were to give a 5 minute speech to the people of the world right now, what would You say?
35) Is there any other life outside Earth?
36) Why did You create the world?

To be continued...sometime...

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Add Sheet Issues...

I admit it, I have a bit of a guilt complex. This means that when I see the Add Sheet people (people who stand around campus and give out these sort of mini-newspapers full of coupons), I feel like I need to take the Add Sheets from them. I mean, these folks are standing out in the cold/hot/rainy/snowy weather for as long as it takes to give out all of their Add Sheets. I mean, I'm lucky if I even go outside to go to class in that weather, and these guys are out there ALL DAY. I can't help supporting them. And since I can't really turn away from them, I often end up with more Add Sheets than I can really use. For example, a few weeks ago I ended up with four, yes FOUR Add Sheets in one day. I have only used an A.S. coupon once in my college career. So what becomes of those Add Sheets? Well...

How to use your Add Sheets
People may say that I'm killing trees by associating with the whole Add Sheet thing, but I figure that they're being printed whether I take one or not, so I may as well take one. So, I often end up with lots of Add Sheets. I have, therefore, thought of many ways of putting these to good use:
1) Wrapping paper. You know how when you were broke in high school you used the comics to wrap Christmas presents? This is sort of like that. You just wrap the present in A.S. pages, and you've got free wrapping paper.
2) "It makes me want to throw things!" This is a phrase I use all the time, but I never seem to have any ammo to throw. Solution? Ball up A.S. pages and fling them at people when they annoy me. I should start keeping some under my desk and another stack in my book bag, just to throw at people and things that annoy me. Look out, Bear.
3) Hats and Boats. Remember in elementary school when you learned to fold newspaper into cool things? A.S. can be used for the same thing. Just tape a few A.S. together and you can do the oragamy thing to make a hat. Then you can wear the hat all over campus, cover up your bad hair days, and generally make people think you're nuts. (And let's face it, if you're my friend, you probably fall into the "slightly weird" category, anyway.) Or you can fold the A.S. into little boats, which you can float in all the fountains on campus. That'd be a fun game until the campus police came along to drag you off to...wherever the campus police put people who misbehave.
4) Wall paper. News flash for anyone not in college: residence hall paint is NOT PRETTY. Really, concrete blocks painted in dreadfully pale pastel shades aren't exactly aesthetically pleasing. Now you can use your A.S. to wallpaper your room. You can get your walls to be a pleasant shade of yellow with interesting designs (also known as letters) covering them. It could be the next big thing in room design.
5) Coffee filters. So, coffee is gross. But if you insist on drinking this expensive mud-like concoction, you might as well drop a little bit of the expense. You could use A.S. in your coffee maker as filters to make really weak coffee. Yeck.
6) Shoe dryers. Next time you step in a puddle (as I did last night... just call me grace) you can take off your shoes when you get home and shove some A.S. into them. The A.S. will absorb the water, leaving you with nice, happy, dry insoles.
7) Mood lighting. So, in addition to rather lousy paint jobs, dorm rooms also feature poor lighting. Neither that "special somoeone" nor your roommate's pet rat looks good with the fluorescent overhead lighting of a dorm room. Instead, now you can cover your light fixture with A.S., which will dim and soften this light, making you look jaundiced rather than deathly pale. Definitely an improvement.
8) Food Storage. As a college student, I practically live on pizza. The problem with this is that I can't eat a whole pizza in one sitting and I only have a mini-fridge for the pizza, which is clearly not big enough for a pizza box. Solution: wrap the pieces of pizza in A.S. using tape to make it secure. Voila, instant tupperware (though perhaps not so air-tight, but how long is that pizza really going to be in the fridge, anyway?).
9) That's cheap! And, of course, you could be all boring and traditional and actually use A.S. for the coupons and deal announcements, but that's not really any fun.
*If you have any suggestions for further uses for Add Sheets, fell free to comment at the bottom of the page, I'm always searching for more!*

The Dudes
I have two favorite Add-Sheet-hander-outers. One is the guy on the corner of Rollins and Hitt. He really sells the A.S., calling out funny one-liners and talking about the deals in this week's A.S. He cracks me up, so I can't help but take an A.S. from him. I swear, if he could get the gig, this guy could do stand-up. My other favorite is one of the guys who is usually on Speakers Circle on the A&S side. I like him particularly because I think he's really Dustin Hoffman hiding out and researching how people express emotion to work on his craft. I mean, the dude looks exactly like Dustin Hoffman, with perhaps a little more weight in the face. He's quiet, never making himself stand out, just handing the A.S. to passersby, looking thoughtful and a little sad. Every time I walk past I take an A.S., smile, and say thank you, just to encourage him. I mean, it takes a lot for anyone to go and hawk coupon books on a college campus in all weather, particularly a famous actor.

(Can you tell I'm working a peculiarly boring desk shift this morning and trying to stay awake?)

Sunday, February 20, 2005

...maybe it's just me, though

Vagina Monologues
The Vagina Monologues were banned in Uganda on Friday (the same day that I went to see them for the second time) as being contrary to the country's values. I was saddened. I mean, how awesome is this celebration of the female condition? This performance is poetic... it is alternately tragic and hilarious. It brings issues like relationship abuse, rape, and human rights to the forefront, but also discusses the terrors of duck lips and sexuality. I must say, I truly enjoy this work. The Vagina Monologues unite women, bring out our common experiences, and help us to come together to defend ourselves. I'm deeply saddened that the women of Uganda can't experience this work.

Geology ROCKS!
So, I start tutoring Geology tomorrow afternoon, an event I'm rather nervous about. I've never actually tutored anyone before, so the idea of beginning tomorrow with not just one, but FOUR students, is a bit intimidating. In addition to that, while I've taken many Geology classes, I'm tutoring a class that I haven't taken, which is being taught this semester by professors that I've never met. Eek. It would be nice if I had some vague idea where in the material they are... Wish me luck!

I saw a guy walking across campus a few days ago carrying a tote bag. I know, you're thinking, "What else is new? C'mon, tell me something I don't know." But the interesting thing about the bag is that it said, in large orange letters screen printed on, 'bag'. I stopped and watched the guy walk past, mystified. Why would anyone need to buy a bag that says "bag" on it? I mean, do you pick up the bag and think, "Wait, what is this item? Oh, yes, of course, look at the bright orange lettering, it must be a bag. Good thing it was labeled, I almost called it a lightswitch." Are sacks that difficult to identify? Really? Then I thought, what if I labeled everything I own. My shirts would all say 'shirt', my dorm room would say 'room', my sandwich would say (in edible writing, of course) 'sandwich'. No, I'm afraid that is entirely too boring. Instead of marketing products that are self-identifying, I want to market products that try to fool you. Like socks that say 'beach ball' or bathtubs that say 'mudpie'. I could sell cars that had the word 'cheese' painted on their side or, best of all, white paper that had the word 'ink' covering the surface with black. Yes, that's a good idea. (Hey, it's just as good as bags that say 'bag'!)

I think I've been working at the desk too long. I have strange fantasies of doing crazy things at the desk. (No, not that, get your mind out of the gutter.) I mean, wouldn't it be great to lie on my back on the surface of the desk and practice Zen meditation? I would just sit there saying "Ommmmmm.....Oooooommmmmmmmmm....." and if any resident came by wanting service, I would just inform them that I was working toward levitation and to go away and leave me to it. Or that dream I have of sitting at the desk and ringing the bell at THEM as they walk by instead of having them ringing it at me. That'd teach them. Perhaps if I sat in the back room cackling madly and flicking the lights, they'd think the desk was haunted and leave me alone. Hmm...

Right...well...back to work.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Pan-Holiday Celebration

Today may have technically been Valentine's Day, but it was really a celebration of all holidays. I spent the day celebrating with KJ and the Wombat, and it was lovely.

First, I must announce a slight alteration to my Lent plan. I have decided that when I am GIVEN food as a gift, it doesn't count as junk food. I chose to give up junk food because I tend to use it to comfort me or distract me when I'm upset and I really should be turning to God, not gastronomy, for that. But I reasoned that when people give me food, I'm not using it as an escape, I'm just enjoying a gift someone has given me. Thus, while I'm not allowed to go eating junk food on my own or gorging myself on Ben and Jerry's, if someone decides to give me a cookie, or share a pizza with me to celebrate something, it really isn't going against the purpose for which I'm observing Lent. So, when KJ and the Wombat decided to give me pizza and pop to celebrate Valentine's Day, or when my friends gave me Valentine's candy not realizing my Lenten observation, I ate them in peace. This is how, I must say, KJ, Chris, and I ended up buying each other pizza, serving each other food and drink, and wishing each other happy (insert holiday here, e.g.: Ramadan, Christmas, Talk-like-a-pirate-day, etc.). It was wonderful.

Then I was given one of the most amazing holiday gifts ever. Even though it was a bit late (combining my birthday, Christmas, AND Valentine's Day), I have NO complaints. You see, one of my closest friends found the letters that my ASP families from the summer sent me, copied down the addresses, and contacted them to ask for the contact information of my volunteers. He then wrote all of the volunteers requesting pictures from the summer and put together a scrapbook for me. It is AMAZING. Wonderful and fantastic and amazing. Happy holidays indeed.

Thus, I'm all about celebrating holidays today. Even the one that I normally hate: Valentine's Day. I hope that yours was as good as mine, regardless of your relationship status.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Silly or Just Dumb

It is cold outside. It can't be denied. Yesterday it was snowing and today it was still really cold. So when I saw numerous people walking around without coats or wearing sandals I just had to say "THAT'S DUMB!" I'm not a stickler about cold weather clothing. I don't insist that everyone wear hats, gloves, and scarves. I personally have an issue with gloves because I always wind up with one lost and only one warm hand. But people who wear sandals in the snow make no sense at all. I mean, do they place no value whatsoever on their toes? If this were just one person, I probably wouldn't say anything, but I saw at least three people with bare toes walking to class today, and I saw one yesterday in the snow. Sandals in the snow. Mark me down as disapproving. Also, why don't people wear coats? A hoodie really isn't sufficient in this weather.

Sorry, had to rant about that. It's all good, though. It'll be warm soon.

Weather by Sybil


February is such a weird month. Half the time it's snowing and the other half it's pretending that spring is coming with sunshine and warm weather. It can't even figure out how long it wants to be, causing all sorts of calendar confusion every four years. On top of that, the month doesn't have any real holidays, it only has Valentine's Day, that awful, awkward holiday that is the bane of everybody's existence. I know, you're going to tell me that people who are in relationships like Valentine's Day, but I really think it's still awkward for them. The whole gift/card for Valentine's Day becomes a huge debate. Do you go with classic but generic? Do you try for something unique and risk getting it all wrong? Then there's the inevitable difficulty over the intensity of the relationship. Valentine's Day inevitably brings one of those relationship-defining talks, whether it's the first use of the l-word or the dating vs. relationship discussion, or the expected proposal (crazy, I know, but it happens). People in long-distance relationships all try to spend the holiday together, and people in long-term relationships often forget the day and get themselves in trouble. Then there's the awkwardness of people who decide to use Valentines to inform someone of their romantic interest, which often ends in discomfort. And one can never forget the awful awkwardness of being single for Valentine's day. I usually spend my single V-Days hiding out with my favorite men (Ben and Jerry). This year, however, because of Lent, I'll be hiding out with KJ, eating un-junk food, and watching Pride and Prejudice for six hours. If I'm not going to have a guy for V-Day, I can at least spend it gazing at Mr. Darcy's pensiveness. So, I guess I'm just glad that February is the shortest month so it'll be March, and spring, sooner.

Alright, I admit it, I have crabs on my socks. Because Rachel, my wonderful and amazing friend in Indiana, gave me awesome, creative socks for Christmas (last weekend). I now have crab socks, sheep socks, and star socks, not to mention ugly hair accessories. I also got to go visit the R-girl last weekend and it was a blast. Rachel makes me excessively happy. I just needed to toss that ode out there.

And while we're at it...
At Wesley last night we did one of my favorite activities which involves telling people how they have blessed your life and why you're thankful for them. I have to say, this activity always makes me want to run around and hug all the people who are important to me and tell them how much I love them and am glad to know them. Unfortunately, what with being at school and far away from some friends and having friends who are busy that I don't get to see all the time, I can't just run around to each person's house in the next hour, so here it is: I love you. Yes, you. Every single one of the people who would read this, my friends, are SO important to me. You hug me and smile at me when I'm down, you're people I can talk to and trust, and you make me feel like I matter, which is a pretty special feeling. So thank you. And next time I see you, remind me to hug you and tell you how wonderful you are, because it's true.

Hug ya later, kids.